Cleveland-based producer Tim Thornton records electronic music under the name Tiger Village. On Modern Drummer, his third release with Hausu Mountain, Thornton offers up a breakneck cycle of hyperactive beats built over shards of fragmented percussion and melodic bursts of day-glo synthesis. His tracks sketch out a hybridized production style with one foot in the non-recursive arrangements of IDM icons like Aphex Twin or Autechre and the other foot in the unhinged, far-off-the-grid drum styles of free jazz and improv. Tiger Village’s beats ripple through his dense mixes in sustained bursts whose individual bars bear no trace of legible looping structures or four-on-the-floor kick/snare configurations. Far from the territory of pure chaos, his compositions maintain a shifting sense of groove and unexpected danceability as semblances of in-the-pocket beat structures appear within his networks of morphing percussive texture. Modern Drummer’s synth work veers from instances of bright square-wave melody and major key harmony to flights of chromatic confusion that evoke the wonky, carnivalesque worlds of a lineage of producers stretching from The Residents to contemporary producers like Foodman and Giant Claw. The latter has appeared on Thornton’s own shape-shifting experimental label Suite 309, which has also released tapes by HausMo artists like Mukqs and Fire-Toolz.
In step with his day job as the quality control engineer at vinyl record plant Gotta Groove, Tiger Village approaches his overloaded spreads of sound with a refined sense of tonal fidelity and detailed spatialization. His linear beat programming speeds through jittering hi-hat runs planted over a queasy backdrop of multiple contrasting kick drum tones, dusted with seemingly randomized layers of tuned toms and patches of alien noise - all pumped from his rig of software samplers, keyboards, and hardware synths. As a contrast to his electronic palette and the tones of his drum kit, Thornton augments his arrangements with homemade percussion samples drawn from incidental sources like falling items, PVC pipes, and spring-laden tubes. His music bears the evidence of a long trajectory of drumming in different contexts, from his early rock and hardcore-influenced bands through the acid techno and gabber experiments of his project CDX. In a musical landscape where the trope of “deconstructed club music” has become stale shorthand for any project with atypical samples or fractured synths presented over a throbbing kick drum, Modern Drummer peels back the walls that enclose the dancefloor and sets out into a multihued mental expanse beyond the outer limits of any earthbound zone.
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